How my favourite authors have influenced my writing

Favourite author Joseph Heller, inspired my writing.It struck me, as I was tossing from side to side struggling to sleep after eating an ill-advised spicy burrito, that my favourite authors have a lot to answer for in the way I’ve developed my writing style. Feverishly confused about why I wasn’t sleeping, I startled to rattle off single sentences that summarised exactly what I felt I’d got from reading the works of those marvellous writers. Not the specific points of English you could learn in style guides, but the special inspiration that only a successful demonstration can drive home. And, lo, here’s the result of that sleep-deprived thought process: Continue reading

Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell – book review

Keep the Aspidistra Flying book cover, George Orwell novel, review here. To start with, you should read Keep the Aspidistra Flying because it’s written by George Orwell, and nigh on all that he wrote is worth a read. He was thoughtful and precise in his craft, as shown by his essays and language rules. However, this novel is a social criticism unlike Orwell’s later work, as it focuses on the dire effects of one man’s resistance to society as opposed to the faults of dystopian society itself. Protagonist Gordon declares war on money, as he would rather live in poverty than prostitute his artistic talents for cash, with brutal consequences. Unlike Orwell’s later work, though, this book rests a lot of the blame for its misery on the head of the principled lead, rather than on society at large. Continue reading

6 language rules for better writing, from George Orwell

language rulesI originally published these tips for my copywriting blog,    but they’re as relevant to creative writing as they are to any other. George Orwell, famed for his essays and bleak political fiction, spent a great deal of time musing over language use and the influence it had on the general decay of society. He despaired that contemporary English was becoming ‘ugly and inaccurate’, particularly focusing on political rhetoric that he deemed vague and inaccurate. He wrote an excellent essay, Politics and the English Language, condemning overly wordy prose, with 6 language rules that are sure to improve anyone’s English: Continue reading